The Metropolitan Council has scheduled three public hearings in April to receive public comment on proposed fares for the Northstar Line, the state’s first commuter rail service set to open late this year. The 40-mile Northstar commuter rail line will provide service on existing track along Highways 10 and 47 from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis.
The Council is proposing fares that are priced according to a tier system, based on the distance away from downtown Minneapolis. The proposed weekday cash fares (one way) to downtown Minneapolis from the five suburban stations anticipated to open late this year are:
- Big Lake – $8.00
- Elk River – $6.00
- Anoka – $4.00
- Coon Rapids – $4.00
- Fridley – $3.25
For customers not traveling downtown, the proposed one-way fare between stations is $3.25.
Northstar trains will offer weekday service during morning and evening rush hours, as well as regular weekend service and some special event service. Trains will travel at speeds up to 79 mph, with a direct connection to Hiawatha light rail trains in downtown Minneapolis. The trip from Big Lake to downtown Minneapolis is estimated to take about 45 minutes.
During the summer of 2008, a joint committee with representatives from Anoka, Hennepin and Sherburne counties, the Northstar Community Development Authority (NCDA) and Metro Transit reviewed and analyzed fare options for the Northstar commuter rail line and developed a recommendation.
In September 2008, as gasoline prices were peaking, the Council directed Metro Transit to reevaluate the proposed fares, expressing concern that estimated revenues from the recommended fares were too low. Metro Transit and Northstar Project staff reexamined other fare-pricing scenarios and assessed their impact on ridership and revenue, including a fare of up to $10 for each one-way trip between Big Lake and Minneapolis.
The fares being proposed at this time reflect the reevaluation and the relative stabilization of gas prices. The new fare recommendation will be considered at public hearings in April. At the conclusion of the public comment period, a recommendation on the proposed fares will be presented to the NCDA and the Metropolitan Council will make a final decision on the fares in May.
Public hearing schedule:
- Wednesday, April 8, Noon – 1 p.m.
Minneapolis Central Library Doty Room
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Served by Routes 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 25, 675, 852
- Wednesday, April 8, 7 – 8 p.m.
Sherburne County Government Center Board Room
13880 Highway 10 (13880 Business Center Drive), Elk River
- Tuesday, April 14, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Anoka County Government Center Board Room (7th floor)
2100 3rd Avenue, Anoka
Served by Routes 766, 805, 850, 851, 852
Trip planning services are available at www.metrotransit.org or by calling a transit information representative at 612-373-3333.
More information on Northstar commuter rail.
The public is invited to register in advance to speak at a public hearing by calling the Regional Data Center at 651-602-1140. Members of the public also can comment by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments can be mailed to the Data Center at 390 Robert Street N., St. Paul 55101, or faxed to 651-602-1464. Recorded phone messages can be directed to 651-602-1500 (TTY 651-291-0904). The public comment period closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24.
The Metropolitan Council is the regional planning organization for the seven-county Twin Cities area. It runs the regional bus and light rail system, collects and treats wastewater, manages regional water resources, plans regional parks and administers funds that provide housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income individuals and families. The Council is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the governor.